After a disappointing stage two, I came into stage three ready to race, as did our entire team. Almost from the gun we all took turns attacking and riding aggressive letting the other riders know that despite tradition Americans can do well in road races, and we are not just time trialist. The field was quick to chase our attacks down and nothing got away, and even with the hilly course that we had ahead the pack would stay for the most part together. With 25km remaining the yellow jersey attacked with two others and then proceeded to drop them and ride to a solo victory. Behind him two riders from Kazakhstan attacked with 15km remaining and one being caught with a few km’s after. There has a final steep climb in the final 10km which split our lead pack and I found myself in a group of 30 riders charging towards the finish. The under the 5km banner two riders attacked and I saw a chance so bridged up. Shortly after Charlie came across with two other riders and we began to drive it home. We worked well until 2km to go then riders started to fatigue and missing pulls, so it was then I decided that it was now or never. I attacked the group as I saw the main pack closing in a last chance effort to beat the pack to the finish. One other rider from the group was able to come across to me which helped to make the move stick. We came within 15 seconds of the yellow jersey, caught the remaining Kazakhstan rider on the line, however the other rider I was with piped me in the sprint by half a bike and I came across the line in 4th.
It was a good ride, but I realized unless you win you will never be satisfied.
I’m back in Belgium now and preparing for another stage race next weekend.